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China, SA launch historic exchange programme

A delegation of nine vice-ministers from China arrived in our nation’s capital to co-host the inaugural launch of the China-South Africa high-level people-to-people exchange mechanism yesterday.
This makes South Africa the first African country to set up such a mechanism with China, which has launched similar mechanisms with the US, Russia, the UK, France, Indonesia and the EU.
The three-day people-to-people exchange is being co-hosted by the Vice-Premier of the State Council of China, Liu Yandong, and Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.

MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING: Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo signs an agreement with the Chinese Vice-Minister of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Tong Gang. Picture: Jacoline Schoonee
“People-to-people relations are often called soft diplomacy. Learning about each other’s world view, belief systems and way of life is a critical part of creating a better world for all,” Mthethwa said at yesterday’s inaugural launch.
“Central to our efforts in the field of international relations and diplomacy is a notion of people-to people relations with partner countries, jointly engaging each other and deepening our understanding of ourselves. Civil society is central to the realisation of this goal,” he said.
The two countries hope that the mechanism will deepen mutual understanding between the people of South Africa and China, and enhance people-to-people exchanges and co-operation in the areas of culture, education, communications, health, science, technology, sport, tourism, women and youth.
In her keynote speech, Liu lauded the setting up of the mechanism by President Xi Jinping and President Jacob Zuma as a visionary decision that marked a milestone in the history of ties between the two countries.
“At Focac (Forum on China-Africa Co-operation), we agreed to upgrade relations to a comprehensive strategic and co-operative partnership. We should pursue closer cultural interactions, policy co-ordination, and people-to-people exchanges to advance common progress,” she said.
Liu highlighted the long history between the civilisations of China and modern-day South Africa.
“Ceramics from China were found on the site of the ancient Kingdom of Mapungubwe, which flourished 1000 years ago in what is today South Africa,” Liu said.
She also noted that during the anti-apartheid Struggle, Chairman Mao Zedong cared about the fight against racist rule, and in May 1954 sent a message expressing China’s full support for the Struggle.
The two countries established diplomatic ties in 1998, and relations have gone from strength to strength, with China having been South Africa’s largest trading partner for eight-consecutive years. There is a two-way trade volume of $35.3 billion (R450bn).
People-to-people relations have been growing, with increasing numbers of Chinese students studying in South Africa, the establishment of Confucius Institutes, as well as sister provinces and cities. South Africa is the first country in Africa to include Chinese teaching in its education system.
Many South Africans have become fans of Chinese martial arts and Peking Opera.
Similarly, South African dance and wine have become increasingly popular with Chinese, and a 2015 documentary released in Beijing highlighted the stories of the growing number of South Africans living in China.
Further cementing ties between the two countries is seen as win-win co-operation, and South Africa can benefit from China’s experience in lifting 700 million of its people out of poverty - 10 million of them last year alone.
Liu shared with her South African colleagues that China intended to create 50 million new urban jobs over the next five years.
The sharing of this type of innovation and developmental planning has been welcomed by South African ministers who will participate in the historic exchange over the coming days.
The vice-premier concluded her remarks with the African proverb: “When spiders unite they can tie down a lion,” in conjunction with the Chinese proverb: “When brothers are of the same mind, they can break metal.”
Both vividly tell a simple truth: that only through win-win co-operation can we make big achievements that deliver long-term benefits.

SA, China intensify economic development

South Africa and China yesterday pledged to forge stronger links for the purpose of tackling daunting problems of economic and social development.
Speaking at the launch of the South Africa-China high level people-to-people exchange mechanism (PPEM) in Pretoria, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said South Africa and China should strengthen their resolve to tackle health challenges on the African continent.
“We must move forward to implement some of our flagship projects, including the production of generic drugs for HIV-Aids, tuberculosis, and malaria; strengthening of african centres for disease control and prevention (ACDC) and the five regional collaborating centres and strengthening of a dedicated China-Africa human resources for health programme to address Africa’s human capital challenges,” Motsoaledi said.
He said Africa was at the crossroads where it had to decide whether to bury its head in the sand on the socio-economic challenges confronting it, or tackle them head on.
“Destiny has brought us to this crossroad where we as Africans can no longer afford the time for missed opportunities nor the luxury of multiple choices. We must move only in one direction – and that is upwards. We must do so with the resolute determination to succeed.”
The purpose of the exchange programme is to cement mutual understanding between the people of South Africa and China and to enhance people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in areas such as culture, education, communication, health, science and technology, sport, tourism, women affairs and youth.
Motsoaledi said there were pockets of success stories where Africa was beginning to turn the tide of poverty and disease around. “For a long time since our independence, Africa was inexorably sucked downwards into the whirlpool of poverty, disease, despair and ignorance.
We became the continent that others derisively referred to as ‘the hopeless continent’.
“However, in the last decade or so, the tide started to change as Africa began to rebrand itself and transformed its image as the next frontier for development and prosperity.
“There are a few bright spots in fighting some diseases.”
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said South Africa would continue to harness its rich cultural diversity in an effort to encourage nation building.
“Arts, culture and heritage grants us an opportunity to learn about each other’s world view, belief systems and way of life of others, which is a critical part of creating a better world for all,” Mthethwa said.

Android O: the awesome new features

This has been on Android TV for a while now, but with the new Picture-in-picture mode you’ll be able to watch videos from say, the YouTube, or Google Play app whilst continuing to be in the app you’re in. We can’t show you this yet as developers have to build it into their apps, but it sounds very cool – think of it like minimising a YouTube video but being able to watch it in any app. A bit like how you can on the iPad Pro.